1928 – 1935 HARD TIMES

Depression years


Teachers’ federations begin lobbying for model individual contracts.

Average salaries are $1,703 for men and $1,155 for women. Through the Depression years, however, men teachers lose 38% of their salaries and women 55%.


Without unions, teachers face hardships during the Depression. Boards threaten firings unless teachers accept pay cuts. Especially in rural areas, out-of-work teachers undercut each other for the chance to get a job.

Federations begin to establish programs to help individual teachers, such as counseling services, legal help, insurance plans, an unemployment exchange and a sick benefit fund.


The government adopts the federations’ proposal for a model contract of employment and encourages school boards to use it.

The federations successfully lobby the government to pass An Act Respecting Disputes Between Teachers and Boards / The Boards of Reference Act, enabling teachers to challenge dismissals in court.


The three major English teachers’ federations form the Ontario Teachers’ Council, later to become the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.